It started with helping in the Contact Form 7 Forum
I decided to start building Contact Form 7 Skins not long after I started answering questions in the Contact Form 7 Support Forum. I began doing this most days after hearing someone suggest that answering questions on a plugin you are familiar with was a simple & effective way to contribute back to WordPress.
I knew Contact Form 7 pretty well (or so I thought at the time). I also knew that the plugin author was Japanese – so I figured being a native English speaker (I’m Australian) might help.
I quickly discovered that styling of Contact Form 7 forms was a common issue in the forum. I found myself answering very similar questions day after day.
Then I wrote an article to make that support easier
So I wrote an article on Styling Contact Form 7 Forms to provide a more comprehensive explanation of the topic than I could give in the support forum. This allowed me to answer these repeat questions much more quickly & easily and at the same time give people a more detailed answer.
Contact Form 7’s author, Takayuki Miyoshi, kindly linked to the post from the Contact Form 7 Documentation.
When he did that I was immediately surprised by the number of hits. I knew that Contact Form 7 was very popular, but with the number of people reading the article each day, I finally grasped how widespread usage of Contact Form 7 really was.
I saw a need & thought I could create a solution
While the article is used by lots of people, it’s directed at people who have suitable HTML & CSS skills.
I decided I wanted to solve the problem of styling Contact Form 7 forms in a simple, practical way for regular WordPress users – that don’t have HTML & CSS skills.
The number of people reading the article each day indicated to me that there should be opportunities for a Freemium plugin that did this well.
“Contact Form 7 Skins was written to help regular WordPress users who would like to have great looking Contact Form 7 forms, but don’t have suitable HTML & CSS skills.”
Response to the plugin has been very positive with significant numbers of people downloading the free version of the plugin right from day one. I’m also encouraged by the number of people making the choice to purchase our Add-ons each week.
Why I choose to use a Freemium Plugin Model
I really wanted to ensure that development of CF7 Skins was sustainable in the long-term. The truth is a high percentage of the plugins released each year are not maintained over time.
It’s an open secret that every Plugin Developer needs to be getting some benefit from ongoing development of the plugin (one way or the other) for development to be sustainable over the longer term.
Most WordPress users also look for plugins that are well supported and regularly updated. So it’s in everyone’s interest I think to try to come up with a sustainable business model.
In my case I made the decision that ongoing development of CF7 Skins should be made possible by sales of renewable annual licenses of Add-ons.
Who am I
I’m Neil Murray aka buzztone in the WordPress Forums. I’m a WordPress Developer based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.